We met people whose lives had been deeply transformed by the gospel and the church. Mary is a pastor at one of the churches and oversees the church's ministry to and with the homeless in the area. Her commitment to Christ and to the poor, however, was very costly.
Mary's husband believed that a wife's role was to stay home, cook dinner, and do whatever the husband asked. And Mary did this for many years. But after her children were grown, she felt called to begin working at the church, to care for people who were poor and hurting, to share Christ's compassion with the destitute.
Her husband gave her a choice, saying, “It's either me or the church."
Mary chose the church, and many of the homeless outside of Johannesburg call her “Mother Mary." Some even call her “God," as Mary is Jesus to them. The most amazing thing about Mary is that she is not bitter toward her husband. While I was there, he became quite ill, and Mary moved back into the home from which she was forced to leave to care for him.
When I remember Mary and her story, then I understand what costly discipleship really means.
In the midst of the pain and suffering, God's grace is ever-present. We found South Africa to be a place of life, a place where God is at work providing comfort and joy in the midst of poverty, and providing transformation for those willing to listen to Jesus' story among “the least of these." Singbogole, a woman with AIDS who came to Mahube for care, said: “When I leave, I am going to tell people about this place - Mahube. There is life at this place."
-Lottie Sneed D'06
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